Deconstructing borders: Mobility strategies of South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda

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Sarah Vancluysen
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Taking the current presence of South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda as a case-study, this paper explores how different forms of mobility enable them to better cope with the harsh conditions caused by their displacement.
Based on extensive field research, the results of this article show how for South Sudanese refugees, crossing borders can be empowering, although these complex strategies do not fit within the mutually exclusive ‘durable solutions’ proposed by the international refugee regime. Looking through a transnational lens, it is illustrated how different forms of movement enable the refugees to hold on to certain aspects of ‘normal life’, such as
being employed, enacting customs and visiting loved ones, blurring the distinction between voluntary and forced migration.
This results in a deepening of transnational networks as the generally large South Sudanese families find their members dispersed across Ugandan and South Sudanese town centres, villages, refugee settlements and third countries in Africa and elsewhere
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